Scored on policy by 38 Degrees

We've been fighting the European Parliamentary Elections on policy, so it was great to be contacted by 38 Degrees about our positions on a range of issues, we responded, but I thought you might like to read a little bit more about how 38 Degrees arrived at their score card and of course what we said!

The process

In the run up 150,000 38 Degrees members were asked to vote on the issues that were their top priorities for the EU Election. The issues were put together by 38 degrees and included campaign topics and suggestions from their membership. The result of the vote there were six issues that 38 Degrees members wanted to prioritise, these were:

  • protecting our public services and environment from TTIP (The Trans-atlantic trade and Investment Partnership).
  • protecting our Bees from poisonous pesticides
  • cracking down on tax-dodging
  • protecting our private data through stronger rules on data protection
  • getting stronger employment rights for workers
  • getting stronger targets for reducing carbon emissions to protect our climate


On the 15th of May, 38 Degrees staff then approached us, and every other party standing candidates to be UK MEPs with their questions.

We were asked for short statements on each item and, as we try to do, sent back our responses within a few hours.  Of course condensing policy into a couple of paragraphs can be hard, but I think in most cases we did a good job in getting our positions across clearly (and of course backing them up with links to our policies!).

With our responses, and those of the 9 other parties that took the time to respond 38 Degrees members were asked to rate each of the parties’ responses out of 5 based on how well they addressed their concerns about the issues (All the responses are available from 38 Degrees).  Now it's important to note that the party names were removed, so it was just about the positions expressed.  The result was a scorecard ranking all 10 parties on the issues:

 

Now obviously we were surprised to be ranked below Labour on Data Protection, maybe we should have been clearer! Yet we scored higher than Labour on employment rights,an area where you would assume Labour would be strong - even if we do offer solid support for workers and Labour seem a little luke warm at times. But then the Liberal Democrats, and Labour appeared to score more highly than the Greens on Climate Change.  It may well be that as parties closely associated with these issues, our responses weren't strong, we rely too much on perception and the belief that we make the case so often that we don't have to do it again each time we are asked.  We'll certainly be working hard to remedy that.  However, we thought you'd like to see our replies too so they are included here:

Our responses

Question 1


How will MEPs from your party go about stopping the NHS, our welfare and the environment from being threatened by global trade agreements like the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)?  

Our Answer:

The Pirate Party opposes TTIP. The root cause of our objection is the secrecy around TTIP.

When coupled with a number of leaks that seem to suggest that the treaty will grant corporations and business interests benefits at the expense of consumers and citizens, it becomes clear that TTIP presents a real danger to society.  We have additional problems with reported aspects of TTIP like ISDS and the possibility that the deal would be used to reduce measures intended to protect consumers.  

The Pirate Party and its sister parties across Europe already took the lead to defeat ACTA.

You can take a look at our in depth look at TTIP here: <https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/campaigns/issues/ttip-trading-away-our-rights>


Question 2


What will MEPs from your party do to secure tougher regulations protecting bees from harmful pesticides?


Our Answer:

As a party we rely in evidence led policy making.  Where there is evidence that pesticides or other chemicals, or indeed industrial or agricultural processes cause unacceptable harm to our environment and ecosystems we will act to ensure they are properly regulated or banned.

Where the EU is unable or unwilling to act, we will work to ensure that the UK acts appropriately

You can read more about our positions regarding the environment here: <https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy/environment/home>

Question 3

Will MEPs from your party work to secure tougher EU targets on CO2 reductions to help tackle climate change?

Our Answer:

Yes. Our MEPs will work to ensure that we are dealing with environmental threats generally and the dangers posed by climate change specifically by either supporting or introducing the measures necessary to limit those threats. 

We have a responsibility to people in the UK, Europe and across the world to act.

You can read more about our positions regarding the environment here: <https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy/environment/home>

Question 4

What will MEPs from your party do to strengthen employment rights protecting workers across the EU?

Our Answer:

As a party we have a commitment to protect the right of everyone to protest, assemble and strike. That includes the right to join a union and work together to improve employees' rights and working conditions.

At the same time we have committed to ensuring that maternity and paternity leave are fair, pensions are protected, and whistle-blowers are able to speak out as well as other employee protections.

Again, our party doesn't think that the job of protecting workers and wider society is one for the EU alone, this is an area where the UK can and should act in the interests of its citizens and lead the way in Europe.

You can take a look at our social policy here: <https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy-areas/social-policy>

Question 5

How will MEPs from your party protect constituents’ privacy by ensuring tougher laws on data protection across the EU?

Our Answer:

We will work hard for better data protection and to ensure that data is not shared without consent, nor shipped across borders to avoid regulation.  One of the reasons the Pirate Party exists is to deal with digital rights, these issues have been part of our core since our foundation. 

An overview of our commitment to protecting privacy is available as part of our civil liberties policy here: ,https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy/civil-liberties/respect-privacy>

Question 6

What will MEPs from your party do to crack down on tax dodgers, ensuring everyone pays their fair share of tax?

Our Answer:

At the EU level, the party would work to ensure that tax evasion and unintended tax avoidance is not made easier through EU regulation.
Broadly however, taxation is a national issue. Our commitment in the UK is that we will work to increase penalties for engaging in schemes aimed to evade tax unlawfully.

The penalty for tax evasion should be sufficiently punitive that getting caught  outweighs the benefits of having engaged in evasion over a period of years.
Nationally the party would aim to bring in a Minister with a clear and specific responsibility for taxation, ensuring that it is absolutely clear where responsibility lies and preventing the kind of deals that HMRC have cut in recent years.

All of our policies are available here: https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy

 

So, there you have it.  I'd like to thank 38 Degrees staff and members for their efforts in putting this together, if it gets a few people voting who might otherwise not have, or means a few more people take a look at party policies it will have been a great success.  It is a shame that a number of parties didn't respond - it's important that people know where parties stand, or how their candidates are going to represent them.